Here’s a theory. All humans, myself included of course, are nothing more than machines made of blood and guts which are powered by the chasing of three things:
- Satiating Dopamine desires
- Pleasures felt via Serotonin
- The feeling of connection created by Oxytocin
Everything is driven by these three things. Either chasing them, or running away from things that threaten these feelings. When I got home this morning from an early AM workout (dopamine and serotonin) I was petting our dog Matilda, and I just started saying, in that higher pitched “pet” voice, “oxytocin oxytocin oxytocin!”
“Hey oxytocin dealer. Whatcha watching?”
I, along with many others, often struggle with reconciling the existence of a true “human experience” with this idea that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, from sex to music to power to status to security to love to independence to “belonging” to sports to reading a good book or eating chips and salsa over the sink, is all driven by the basic filtering down brought on by a couple hundred thousand years of natural selection and evolution.
Can’t starve, so evolution lands on chemicals that create a desire for highly caloric sugar and fat. Gotta replicate, so here come the hormone dumps produced by fluid exchange. Packs are more likely to survive than the solos, so it was those few meat machines who enjoyed the firing of the “I belong!” brain synapses who eventually rose to prominence.
I’ve never been able to put my finger on why I started to dress “better.” But looking at it through this lens, it starts to make sense. I believe it’s the things that I value most, and perhaps what you value most, that led us here. But all roads still lead to those chemicals. I, perhaps more than some, value personal independence (self-determination/safety/serotonin), creativity (accomplishing/manipulating/dopamine), and feeling like I belong even if I’m not in a group (confidence/respect/oxytocin).
While dressing well is a small and perhaps shallow spark, it is and was a spark all the same, which in part ignites the engine that powers us to pursue those feelings.
That, and the chicks (or potential partners of another gender depending on your orientation) seem to dig it.
But that just goes back to fluid exchange.